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7 Top Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Party

They’re your support group, your A-team, your wedding day front line. Here’s our crash course for creating the perfect wedding party.

Uneven number of groomsmen and bridesmaids. Attendants are wearing blush floor-length dresses and chambray shirts with ties.

1. Think twice before you ask

Once you’ve asked someone to be in your wedding party, you can’t go back. So while it may be tempting to ask all of your favorite friends to be in your wedding party the minute you get engaged, don’t. Take your time. Give yourself at least a month, if you can, to mull over the options. And pose this question to yourself: Do you imagine you’ll be just as close to this person in five years as you are now?
Top Tip: If you’re on the fence about asking someone to be in your wedding party, consider how they’d fit in with the rest of your attendants. If you don’t think they’d mesh well with your crew, considering leaving them off the list.

2. Set honest expectations

What sort of a role do you want your wedding party to play? Is it important to you that they help to address wedding invites, dress shop with you and attend all of the pre-wedding parties? Or will it be enough for them to wear what you choose and show up the day of? If it’s the former, think twice about asking friends or family who live far away or have extremely hectic schedules. The worst thing you could do is set yourself up for disappointment.
Top Tip: For friends who can’t commit for whatever reason (they live out of town or are busy at work), let them in on just a few wedding prep activities, like an invitation stuffing party complete with wine and pizza.

3. Include your brothers and sisters

Not to sound like Mom, but think about it: Even if you’re not particularly close to his sister or her brother, siblings are going to be around well past your 10-year anniversary, and chances are, you’ll become closer over the years. If you come from a big family and you can’t possibly include everyone, draw the line at teenagers. Instead, make them a part of the ceremony by asking them to pass out programs or seat guests.
Top Tip: Traditionally, it’s ladies on one side and guys on the other, but feel free to break that rule and have them stand on either side of the aisle.

4. Consider the size of your wedding

You can have as many (or few) bridesmaids and groomsmen as you like. The average wedding party size is eight—four bridesmaids and four groomsmen. Use that as a guide when you decide. Depending on formality, go larger or smaller. For a smaller wedding with around 50 to 60 guests, have no more than four, but for a larger wedding of, say, 150, you could go up to 12 if you really wanted to. Just keep this in mind: more isn’t always merrier. The more bridesmaids or groomsmen you have, the more people to coordinate with, find a flattering tux or dress for, and work around schedules (can you imagine trying to find a free weekend for a bachelorette party with 12 bridesmaids?).
Top Tip: If there are a lot of people you want to include in your wedding party but just can’t, give them other roles, like usher, ceremony reader or candle lighter.

5. Choose responsible honor attendants

Choosing your best man and maid of honor might not be an easy task. The best honor attendants are friends who are responsible (since you’re going to rely on them for some big wedding planning tasks and to hold on to your expensive rings) and friends who are good at providing emotional support, because there just might be a few pre-wedding meltdowns. (It also helps if they’re super-fun, since they’ll be planning the bachelor and bachelorette parties!)
Top Tip: If your best friend isn’t always the most dependable person, it’s perfectly okay to have two best men or maids of honor. Pick your unpredictable BFF and another friend you can rely on for the big, important duties.

6. Don’t ask someone just because they asked you

Weddings are no time for quid pro quo. You don’t need to ask someone to be in your wedding because they asked you to be in their wedding. Don’t ask the college roommate you haven’t spoken to in five years just to return the favor.
Top Tip: If they want to talk to you about why they aren’t in your wedding, be completely honest. Explain that it was a tough decision but you really felt like you should have the people you feel closest to at this point in your life standing up there with you.

Bridesmaids standing at ceremony

7. Research other roles

You might need ushers to lead the guests to their seats at the ceremony, plus a couple candle lighters and program distributors. But there are a lot of other options as well than just bridesmaid and groomsman. Maybe you have a musically-inclined friend who would love to play something at the reception. Or what about that friend who is an amazing writer? Have them write up something to read at your ceremony.
Top Tip: Think twice before offering your friends obscure, not-so-needed positions, like guest book attendant. (Would you want to do that?) Most people would be happier with a VIP corsage and a reserved seat at the ceremony.

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